Hard Cash Day 41: Not such a merry Christmas for Gurgaon this time
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Hard Cash Day 41: Not such a merry Christmas for Gurgaon this time

Christmas Eve is drawing closer, but the markets are depressingly empty in the wake of demonetisation.

Hard Cash Day 41: Not such a merry Christmas for Gurgaon this time Gurgaon's Sadar Bazar wears an empty look

The currency ban has taken a toll on festive shopping too. The markets are unnaturally quiet and customers conspicuous by their absence. Shopkeepers are worried, as they don't see the situation improving this year, at least.  

In Gurgaon, for example, customers are not even stepping inside shops that don't have card-swipe machines. A lot of people are re-using the previous year's items — be it Santa Claus costumes or decorative knick-knacks.

Rajesh Kumar, a worried shopkeeper from Sadar Bazar, says, "We look forward to making profits around this time, but the way things are, I don't think I will be able to recover even the money I invested. I don't have a card-swipe machine and deal only in cash, so you can well imagine the reaction of customers."

The situation is no different for Rajan Singla, a trader from Galleria Market. He complains, "This Christmas is going to be bad for us. We are seeing a 30-40 per cent dip in sales. We are taking payments through both Paytm and card-swipe machines, but we have too few customers this time. Earlier, we would make huge profits, but this time, we just hope to recover our input costs."

But Sanjay Saini, a vendor from Sector 14 market, is more hopeful. He reasons, "Things will improve — it's just a matter of time. We are taking cashless payments this time. Demonetisation was indeed a good step, but more thought should have gone into its implementation."

Customers, too, are not a happy bunch.

Bobby Thomson from Kerala works in an MNC and is upset at the way his year-end plans have been derailed by demonetisation. He says, "Earlier, I would celebrate Christmas at home in Kochi. This year, I had planned to be here and enjoy the festivities around. But the situation is very different now. I guess New Year celebrations, too, will bear the brunt of demonetisation."

Tom D'Souza, who is from Mysuru and also works for an MNC, feels both Christmas and New Year celebrations will be a big letdown this year. "I have been working here for the past 10 years, and I know how Gurgaon celebrates. But this year, the revelry will certainly not be the same."